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Special districts are an obscure form of government in the United States. Few Americans are aware of their existence, function, and purpose. However, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Census of Governments, there are nearly forty thousand special districts in existence across the nation. These taxing districts specialize in a number of different services like fire, water, parks, sewage, and even mosquito control.

Increasingly, these local services are being performed by special districts rather than by city and county governments. This trend has gained some attention and concern has been raised about the fiscal responsibility and economic efficiency of these organizations. In fact, special districts were recently featured on the popular HBO talk show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. The political satirist shines a glaring spotlight on these ghost governments exposing internal, operational, and systemic issues. Amid allegations of misusing and misappropriating funds, Oliver calls for an increase in transparency as well as for some problematic special districts to be dissolved.

Despite concerns about a lack of oversight and accountability, few can deny that these special and sovereign district governments are lucrative pieces of an overall puzzle of public spending. At about $100 billion per year, they represent a significant amount of national spending, more than the spending of all the nation’s city governments combined.

There is a constant and consistent influx of RFPs into the government marketplace from special districts for a whole host of local services. Of these, many are for fire, water and other maintenance services; however, a growing number of special district-related bids are actually solicited for legal, auditing, accounting and other services for the organizations themselves. Auditors, lawyers, general contractors and suppliers of a variety of goods and services must look no further than FindRFP to find opportunities of interest.

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